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  5. "Pupitrele sunt murdare de o …

"Pupitrele sunt murdare de o săptămână."

Translation:The desks have been dirty for a week.

December 28, 2017



Surely, "the desks are dirty for a week"??? How do I identify that this was supposed to say "have been"


Very interesting question!

In Romanian de o săptămână hints that it is an action started in the past and continues in the present. We use sunt, but in English it turns into have been.

If we had pentru o săptămână instead, it would've meant the action started now and will continue in the future. We still use sunt in Romanian, but in English it would be more like your translation, or even The desks will be dirty for a week.

I hope this helped.


Yeah it's interesting that we don't have a direct translation in English. I guess the most accurate would be "The desks are dirty and they have been for a week". To say "The desks are dirty for a week" suggests that we are at any point within a week where the desks are dirty rather than at the end of that week which is what i understand the Romanian sentence means here


We simply don't say "The desks are dirty for a week" in English. This construction is a classic difference between English and Romance languages.

In Romance languages, talking about a situation that has lasted until the present for a particular period of time, or since a specific time in the past, the Present is generally used. So in French and Italian, for example, the Present would also be used here. Interestingly, often the same word is used for "for" and "since" in this context:

"Les pupitres sont sales depuis une semaine" (fr)
"I banchi sono sporchi da una settimana" (it)

But in this situation, in English, speaking of states, we use the Present Perfect, as in DL's sentence. Speaking of actions, we generally use the Present Perfect Continuous. For example:

"Suntem aici de trei zile"
- We've been here for three days

(NOT We are here for three days)

"Plouă de sâmbătă"
- It's been raining since Saturday

(NOT It rains since Saturday)


"We simply don't say "The desks are dirty for a week" in English" - erm, yes we do, at least we do in Ireland :) However, this might be dialect or idiomatic usage: lots of "Irish English" is either archaic forms that have gone out-of-date in England but are still common in ex-colonial countries or are everyday constructions that were originally translated from Gaelic grammar.


Thanks to Razvan! Very helpful explanation for me!


I'm wondering why there isn't a separate lesson for this, or even a partial lesson for this type of expression. Shouldn't there be something for continuous tenses?

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